Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Rufus & Doofus Design Co.

Despite the rain storms during this long weekend, we went to the newest mall in Auckland: Sylvia Park. It used to be an industrial complex, but retail is more lucrative than the rent of hundreds of small industrial wings. And, well... our government doesn't care much on supporting development of local industry: why bother, if you can import everything cheap from Asia... so, let's give the people a MEGA-warehouse*, where they can buy cheap imports... the local industry is shutting down production or going overseas anyway. I must admit that most of the industrial workshops at sylvia park were already closed two years ago... but, that's maybe because they were just about to build the mall.

Anyway... my problem with Sylvia Park is... that I don't understand how or why investors, who are putting millions (literally) can give the project to Rufus & Doofus Architects Studio Inc. Ltd. (I can't find their real names on the site) But, just look at the main render. 3rd year students could do a better render, not to mention a better design! Honest!... I know that a project like these would probably fail the semester.

Try to find the main entrance on the picture... Yes! that IS the main entrance to the mall... I thought that we parked on the loading decks, but no... that is the main elevation side. I don't understand how multimillion projects can end up in the hands of terrible pseudo-architects. I can't believe that in the 21st century, someone still builds a multimillion shoe-box, without any regard whatsoever to architectural history and knowledge about how things should be done. Don't get me started on the horrible restrooms at Sylvia Park. I could forgive the people living on city slams, who don't have any idea of soil mechanics, or how to develop a master plan... but a well established (as one might believe) architectural firm making shoeboxes and disguising it with glass and woodstick roofs... that is unacceptable. This is one for the "X-listing : architecture hate forum".

I am not asking for something like Jean de Gastines and Shigeru Ban's centre Pompidou at Metz! Although... it would be nice to have buildings like that here. That is a building that makes sense.


*For those who don't know "the warehouse"... it's like a walmart, only cheaper (still) for kiwi rednecks.
Bookmark and Share

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Minimum celibacy

I know that my promisse to post regularly was like Paris Hilton's promise to keep celibate. Now that I'm done with catalogues and instructions... (not like Shaïwear's catalogues!) I have many belated posts. So I'll try to get up to date.

Check out, father of minimalism, Jacob Jensen's roundabouts. Those would look nice at the main gate of ITESO. (via)

Also via DDC, a list of 10 design web blogs worth visiting. Quite interesting are Doors of Perception and Putting People First, which focuses on user centered design... that's where I found this article by Logic + Emotion on user experience. Too much business oriented, but also interesting is Nussbaum on Design, for example: Why HR Departments hire or fire individuals and not teams? TV shows like the apprentice demonstrate how teams are sometimes a catastrophe; some case studies from IDSA, or this interview with Don Norman... one of the fathers of user centered design.

Bookmark and Share

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Goofy loves Bob Dylan, but not Sebastian

iLoveA web survey found that women are the largest group of internet buyers... and most buys occur after doing a job search. Just give a girl a credit card and broadband to surf and the illusion of a better paid job and you have a sale! Sorry, I deleted that message, so I can't find the source. Anyway, a very succesful product recently, is iLove, a girls' magazine that comes with a bottle of pure water (or viceversa). 32 pages of gossip and entertainment that comes with a bottle of water... that is double targeting a niche market!

Another interesting niche marketing is that Bob Dylan's new record... actually comes on a record! Sony decided to sell LP vinyls aswell as CDs. Maybe because most of the people interested on that record, already own all previous records on vinyl... and they would like to hear the new one on a regular LP turntable. Speaking of emotional design!

Finally, if you are courious about the "in"famous Mouse Orgy... that's something that everyone wanted to see. Like the Coyote finally eating the Road-runner, Silverster killing Tweety, Superman and Wonder-woman getting nasty, etc, etc... the japanese are sooo much ahead in that matter. Disney should do a focus group (just don't invite french to that group) to see what the viewers really want to see. I mean Look at what Chistina Aguilera and Britney Spears are doing after leaving the Mickey Mouse Club, besides the later getting like a cow.

Speaking of cows. Now there's a Chihuahua Parade... of course in the state of Chihuahua. I critizised the idea of the Rams (borregos) parade at ITESM for the 60th anniversary, because it is a knock off of someone else's idea. But I must admit that is nice to have the decorated rams arround the campus. Except maybe for the M&Ms ram, which melted terribly under the "gentle" sun of Monterrey (which proves that M&Ms DO melt!). Anyway, my sister sent me some pictures of a trip to Chihuahua, and I was totally disapointed on the Chihuahua sculpture made by Sebastian. Just look at it... it seems that he asked some of his apprentices to do it for him.

Bookmark and Share

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Red Gates of Kiev

canteenSo, today is all about business. We were watching "the apprentice" (version Martha Stewart) and the apprentices had to find celebrities for a charities fund-raising event. She said that in business it is very important to give back to the community. Well, I agree with that. Not only big corporations, but also small ones are sometimes involved in so called "charities" or sponsorship of some kind. This takes away the bad image of a big heartless inhuman corporation.

Sometimes, charities do not work so well, when you already have a bad reputation... of course I am talking about the "evil empire" (miscrosoft). Nobody seems to care much if the Bill Gates Foudation does philantropy work... every one remembers only the business bullying... like the time he "bought out" Homer Simpson's internet business. He, he. I think it's best when you have a healthy involment in the community, or a "make money without doing evil" charter right from the start. The Ronald McDonalds House Charities is another example on how charities can help restore the reputation of a big corporation that is constantly under attack.

All this comes to my mind because, this week Bono and Oprah were promoting (RED) products. It's not that they are actually red, although some of them are, like the red iPod. A percentage of the price will go to finance AIDS medicine for people in Africa. Good on ya' Reds!

Yet, the most compelling argument in favour of doing business and helping others along the way is today's announcement of Muhammad Yunus as this year's Nobel Peace Price laureate. the idea of microcredits:
“lasting peace can not be achieved unless large population groups find ways in which to break out of poverty. Micro-credit is one such means. Development from below also serves to advance democracy and human rights. However, unless women are able to express themselves freely to their full the economic and political potential, the growth will not be lasting.”
Fox tried to recreate that idea, but it was Banco Azteca that actually implemented the program in Mexico. Because here in NZ we are in denial of the existing poverty, I doubt the effectivity of microcredits. In fact, I still have my doubts if the Economics MP knows how to do addition and substraction.

Bookmark and Share

Monday, October 09, 2006

Gypsy cards

When I was studying in Gemany, a gypsy (Zigeunerin) told me that I was going to win the lottery. I told her that, that would be really lucky since I don't usually buy tickets. Anyway, some time later there was the typical story of the largest jackpot ever, and we bought a ticket... and I won!!! (a refund anyway). I have no idea if that was the gypsy's prediction or someday I'll win a real jackpot.

If I win... I'll probably donate some of that money to sponsor a park like CAED's Poly Canyon. I mean, It's a great idea to have a park with architectural structures designed by the students. They are just amazing! Look at this cantilever structure... and the pavillon, etc, etc... I was surfing the cardboard chairs, but I was blown away by the Poly Canyon!

Some weeks ago I chated with Isaac Cuellar, a former student who's now working at Taiyo Birdair designing membrane structures. Wouldn't it be nice to have their tensile structures on an architecture dedicated park close to campus?

Bookmark and Share